There's been a torrential downpour of surf releases lately including TWO releases from Arno De Cea within 48 hours. They've teamed up with Demon Vendetta (whose last LP won...Read more
Everything on bandcamp and social media about Spacecramp is meaningless nonesense, so I guess I kinda expected something more ridiculous in the music. But we've actually got a pretty straight-faced though fun instro record. There's not exactly all that much surftone; it's more reminiscent of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. It starts out with the fun and energetic "Whistle Monkey", but also swings into a spacey sound with the later half of "Whip-n-out Burger" and even gets kinda nice and...Read more
If your idea of Russian surf is steeped in B-movies and creepiness, Air Cats band are here to show you a brighter side with a more Shadowsy/Rautalanka guitar tone. Their songs are adventurous but cool, with a tendency to get bouncy rather than nasty ("Billy Bones Boogie") and mysterious rather than creepy ("Hours & Minutes"). It's a fun record to sit back and enjoy the ride, and your wallet can sit back too: free download.
Black Flamingos' name and album art suit them well: fun and exotic, but with a sketchy side. There is a beach party going on for sure, but somebody said they saw a shark.
First and foremost, this is a surf record. "Flamingo Twist" and "Cock Grease" are plain ol' fun party tracks with no hint of anything "wrong". But there's tinges of jazzy drumming, some darker, slower, more minor key guitar playing, some harpsichord, (!) some eerie whistling that adds a bit of a...Read more
With no releases from Arno de Cea in either the Clockwork Wizards or the Irradiates, 2016 felt kinda... safe (though Amphibian Man did his best). He's back though, with another album of impossibly huge guitars and apocalyptic panic.
Flash Freezing The Sun picks up where ...Read more
Man, what is it about Finland? El Supernaut have released their 3rd LP and have more than earned some recognition in the instro scene. Gorilla Fighter is a bright, punchy record full of ideas. Their last LP Plays Half Dead was great, but it was literally half (excellent) Dead Kennedys covers. Playing mostly original material now, they sneak in hints of Booker T and the MGs on "Fool For Your Loving", a ska beat on "Die Mauer Brechen", a bit more of a straightforward 90's...Read more
This is the 4th release from The Chemist and even if you missed everything up to this point, the label should give you a good idea of what you're getting: loud, fast, power surf. Not just a trashy take on the 60's sound but instrumentals with oomph and size, definitely of the Man or Astro-man family. "Farm Nightmare" and "Kallocaine" change things up with the drumming and "escape from cerclon" has some theremin freakout. If you're like me, you need to have a regular intake of this sort of...Read more
At 19 songs and just short of an hour, there's a lot to digest here. Surf Out! is a duo with some help from friends playing garagey trad surf. At times that duo-ness sounds Flat Duo Jetsy, like on "Tango Whiskey" but they'll also do these slower numbers like "Sunsets and Surfboards". I think "Mariposa" strikes a nice balance between moments of elegance and a damn-it-all grab to make some noise. "Don't Freak Out" almost has a Dinosaur Jr grungey sound to it, and "Big Surf in Winnetka" takes...Read more
Some straight trad stuff from Culebra here with a focus on melody over racket. Though guitar is at the forefront, the little touches of sax and organ are a nice sub-surface flourish. Though adequate, I think the sound production here isn't doing these songs justice -- there are some nice, memorable tunes here but they don't present themselves well on first listen. My favorite is the opener "Tres Palmeras"
You can buy it on 7" vinyl or digital download from Bandcamp.
The Terminators play fast, mean, and short surf instrumentals with what I assume is humorous Russian stage banter peppered throughout. It's extremely short, with each song coming in at less than 1 minute and 30 seconds when you skip the talking, but those instrumentals are worth it! They're well produced, well played, and full of energy.
I can't find much else on them, but I like what I've heard.
Apparently they've released more material this year so I'll embed all three. Each...Read more
Despite consistently enticing album art, I am not well acquainted with The Illuminators' material. They play modern/progressive instrumentals with a bit of mood and punch to them. There's a desert/spaghetti western theme going on on this EP that probably comes out strongest in "Memento Amorella", which might also be the most melodically memorable moment of the EP. This isn't really a direct Ennio Morricone thing though -- I hear just as much of the Madeira in here as that, but not quite as...Read more
Los Tiki Phantoms are back with another album of lighthearted, carefree, pop-garage surf instrumentals. Though there are a few more effects, brass instruments, and spaghetti western sounds, it still has that bright and sunny Los Tiki Phantoms feel. They don't change the formula much, but I think of them as dependable rather than sounding stale.
Took me a while to find the...Read more
So close to being able to say "Release the Kraken". Anyway, Z and the K's are a trad surf band out of Copenhagen playing 100% covers, including some from the 90's and onwards. I was surprised at how naturally they could fit songs by The Atlantics, The Ghastly Ones and Man or Astro-man right next to more standardized surf standards like Pipeline and Squad Car. Speaking of cohesiveness, the second half of the album was live but a nice enough recording that the talking before and after the...Read more
Every once in a while retro electronic music collides with retro analog rock & roll and we get a chiptune surf record.
The ones I've heard don't usually do covers of classic instro tunes, which does make this especially interesting. However, it's not full chiptune, as there's clearly some guitar in there (am I seriously complaining about guitar use?). I think "Cross Ties" and "Reveille Rock" are the best use of this sound, while the latter two amount to basically...Read more
Splashdown is when a spacecraft hits the water upon reentry into Earth's atmosphere. When astronauts go from space to surf. It's a great name for the splashdowns, who mix a semi-trad surf sound with a sense of cosmic wonder and adventure. Think The Spotnicks doing Rocket Man rather than Man... or Astro-man?, with a non-aggressive, thoughtful surf approach and not...Read more
I once declared that 2016 belonged to Amphibian Man, so now it's time to see what he has in store for us in the new year.
Thematically, I didn't notice anything particularly cohesive in this release. It's a bit more patient and perhaps a bit more quick-picky than straight-up melodic, but he still manages to hit a...Read more
In their 4th LP, The Bahareebas have found a sweet spot that I expect should resonate with just about any modern-trad surf fan. Despite a pretty no-frills surf sound, The Bahareebas manage to play with a sense of purpose and emotion in every moment of the melody. It's bright and sunny and energetic, but also with a sense of danger -- while not being vicious. They take cues from many of trad surf's memorable leitmotifs without feeling like rip-offs, just channeling the spirit of the music. I...Read more
Genki Genki Panic is back after their transformative Spooky Fingers EP. While Spooky Fingers felt kind kind of like a soundtrack, Litanies of Surf is a rock record, dialing back the atmospherics, cranking up the volume and the speed, and keeping the anything-goes approach to their song-writing. Less spooky, but bigger and meaner. Less Danny Elfman, more Man... or Astro-Man and sometimes even...Read more
With their last release, Los Coronados had a story that the grandsons of the original musicians were releasing their fathers surf band master tapes from 1965. Fun story, but I didn't buy it. Now that they're Tupac'ing some new material, I'm especially not buying it. But here's the thing: this is the only Taiwanese surf band I know of. That's plenty enough of a story!
Anyway, three tracks here, strictly trad surf, a little on the laid-back side. Give it a listen....Read more
Lots to worry about here. Dr Phobic serves up 10 instro-metal tracks with titles that end with the phobia suffix.
This metal guitar and dirty bass sound probably won't work for everybody, but my favorite here is "Ichthyophobia". Though after looking up some of the song titles, my favorite might go to "Pithecophobia", the fear of apes.
Digital download is free, but you can also order a CD through their bandcamp page if you'd like.